Sunday I took the new bike to my favorite waterfront park to play, learn to change gears, go in circles to be sure I could actually stay on before trying to ride in front of other people. I felt like a kid, wanting to announce to the Border Patrol, “Hey, look at my new bike. Isn’t it cool? I even have one of the car racks. I’m one of the athletic ones now. I should go get some Clif bars for us all to share.” I felt like I’d joined the Club of Life and couldn’t stop smiling.
As I was riding, just a little bit further, just a few more moments before heading home, I was met with ice, lots of ice. Huge sheets of ice, spanning the entire way across the river to Canada, maybe 20 feet across. Plates that used to cover Lake Erie somewhere and now were sweeping their way to Niagara Falls. I stopped and watched, listened to the rushing power of all that ice, sheets beating against each other and the rocks which were trying to hold them back, force them on down the river, down the current, away from the open expanse of the lake which was ready for spring. Their speed was almost dizzying, almost hard to watch with my legs feeling like jelly after my ride, but I couldn’t move, realizing that this was something unusual, something worth watching for the full five minutes as what looked like a football field passed me by.
One sheet even held an entire park bench. It was broken, but all there, the refuse of someone’s perch, a spot where someone once watched the river go by was now being taken down the river, empty as it watched all of us on shore.
Spring is always a time of new beginnings and lately, I’ve been feeling like things were stirring for me. The blockade of my dissertation is starting to break up, starting to move. I feel like it’s a little easier to breathe with each page, each footnote that I put down. There’s still a lot to send down the river, but at least there’s movement. I’m feeling a little lighter in life too. Nothing’s really changing or improving, but I’m happier, easier, freer, hopeful about what’s to come. The frozen waters are busting up, eager to move along. The ice is still powerful and awe-inspiring and frightening as it jostles on the current, but its passing makes the river seem peaceful, no matter how powerfully the water still roars. It’s dangerous water, but it’s just water. It moves and movement means change.
It’s nice to watch the ice pass.